9 Tips for a Magical Walt Disney World Vacation
By Elizabeth Lyons
The Disney folks continue to enhance their parks, properties, and amenities with the goal of making your family vacation as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Find out how you and your family can make the most of a trip to the Magic Kingdom.
A Disney vacation is the stuff parents dreams are made of. Mom and Dad envision their family donning Mickey Mouse ears and excitedly holding on to the hands of Donald Duck as they skip down Main Street toward Cinderella's Castle. Unfortunately, parents' post-trip reports are sometimes not as enchanting. After running through theme parks with nary a plan, plopping down their credit card at every turn, and begging their children to keep up, they wonder what happened to their dream vacation.
The keys to unlocking the door of magic are careful planning and the proper mindset. You need to eliminate as many frustration triggers as possible—before blasting off to Tomorrowland.
Accommodations: Choose Wisely
Key in determining whether your trip to Walt Disney World will be magical or mayhem is your choice of accommodations. Cramming everyone into a standard hotel room with a substantially lower per-night rate may be appealing, but consider the drawbacks. It's difficult for already over-stimulated kids to fall asleep with lights or a television on, meaning your day will end early as you sit silently in the dark praying for your children to drift off. Naptime may prove even more challenging, especially if you need to keep older children quiet so a younger one can sleep. While visiting Walt Disney World, getting sufficient sleep is critical to prevent a family from waking up on Day Two already cranky.
Many Walt Disney World Resort Hotels offer suites, and the Disney Vacation Club properties provide accommodations that range from studios to three-bedroom suites equipped with a kitchen. Also available are laundry facilities, either within the suite or elsewhere on the property. Many of the resorts provide cribs and high chairs at no charge, so there's no reason to lug your own.
Some hotels off Disney property offer suites as well. The rates may be more reasonable, but you may need to rent a car, dine out more often, take more clothing (if you don't have access to laundry facilities), and lug bulky car seats. Many of the hotels on the perimeter of the Resort area provide transportation to and from the theme parks, but inquire as to how often the shuttles run. Whether coming from or going to a park, a 45-minute wait for the shuttle can be a problem for younger children.